Monday, 4 February 2013


Being Unique Is What We Seek

"Get less happy
And more constructive reactionary
It’s not about anarchy
Or arm chair apathy
It’s awareness to sanity
And the corporate capacity to infiltrate the mind
And cause a blind necessity for greed
For things we don’t need; that fall apart
It’s a Bad seed; creating style over content, what nonsense
What floods the scene is confusing the true dream
NOKI is about recycling
Keeping the precious light of individuality alive
Fuel the passion inside
Being unique is exactly what we seek

I have chosen Dr Noki as one of my three fashion designers to explore for this blog. He is seen as a visionary and conceptualist; even his name is intriguing to me as a pun and anagram. NOKI = IKON, already an indication to his wanting to resist the system. I love the style he creates which can be read as a statement against mass-produced fashion. The style he creates is bricolaged and textural using existing clothing, which he reinvents by customizing and reworking; this process takes these garments into a new “one-off” couture dimension, giving the clothes a new and unique life and personality.

As well as being a fashion designer (or fashion re-inventor?) he is also a Street/graffiti artist, which is where inspiration for his designs often originate, I think this could explain the bricolage and mix matched feel to his creations, as the streets of a city where he leaves his art are filled with people from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of subcultural styles and all sorts of opinions and thoughts in their heads.Like many other famous street artists such as Banksy, remaining anonymous is important to him. Dr Noki is recognizable only by the masks he wears over his nose and mouth. These masks are his trademark accessories and they are worn for all of his media interviews and public appearances as a stand against celebrity culture and fighting against becoming a famous and recognizable face. (or an IKON?)

His creations are fun yet aggressive and messy with a strange sense of beauty about them. Garments are torn, cut into, distressed, reshaped, stitched into, embellished and reinvented. In the early 90’s he created t-shirt dresses which were made from prom dresses worn as skirts combined with t-shirts, they were distressed, punched, tagged, gaffer taped, inverted and labelled with messed up brand logos like "No Coco" from Coca Cola or "Hard Cock" for Hard Rock Cafe.
“Where sportswear relies on brands and powerful logos to make it’s selling proposition, Noki abducts these signs, reconfigures them, uses, abuses and reuses them and creates the new and unorthodox”–      Boris Ewenstein

NOKI’s fashion show venues are also a reflection of his creative mind, he customizes urban spaces by turning them into art installations, plastering the walls with paintings, prints and graffiti, this reworking of an existing surrounding can be see as a parallel to the way he gives new life to clothes. I think NOKI is a particularly quirky character with a lot of imagination “He set up a workshop/vintage store/fashion gallery, welcoming visitors to his ‘NHS’ - The ‘NOKI House of Sustainability’ - in East London; promising to rehabilitate fashion victims under the supervision of "Dr NOKI " and his team of  ‘nurses’.”

NOKI is about a stand against the system, although not trying to abolish it, as that would be a huge contradiction because like it or not Noki is just as much a part of the system as you and me, as he needs to sell and market himself just as the others whom hold the values he is opposing do; it’s about challenging it and resisting the system. It’s about personality and individuality- a Noki piece is a one off, one of a kind item. Not like the generic items mass produced for our high street stores and for the millions of clones caught in the system. Noki is art and creativity and an expression, clothes that say, “Fuck you. I am different. I am unique”.I think Dr Noki would love it if every one broke against the restrictions set by the media and personalized themselves – curing these “fashion victims” that Dr Noki wants to save in his own NHS.
I guess the focus of his customization encouragement is to express that everyone is different but stuck in the system of only being able to wear what is available in shops.

Overall I think the concept and values NOKI have are quite beautiful, awareness that we are different and an approval to express ourselves. 

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